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Worship Preview 4.23.23 "Living Changed Lives"

Scriptures: 1 Peter 1:3-9, Matthew 22:15-31, and Matthew 25:31-40 – with Rev. Christopher Eshelman preaching.

Last week, our guest preacher, Rev. Dr. Dustin Petz, shared some insight about how we use our talents. He titled his message on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 “Giving to Change Lives.” During his sermon, he made the point that in this, Jesus is talking about money. Jesus does that a lot – more than we are comfortable with, really. He pointed out that Matthew 25 continues with a further challenge as well, with the parable of goats and sheep. As Rev. Petz said – “I think this chapter is Jesus preparing himself, and his disciples, as he enters into Holy Week and journeys towards the cross, death, the tomb, and the Resurrection.” He knew these events would challenge his own faith and definitely change the lives of his disciples.

All through Lent, we talked about “Leaning Towards the Light” and “Soaking in the Presence.” We told stories of healing, transformation, and wholeness – each ultimately about being born anew, seeing truly, and worshipping God revealed in Christ. At Easter, we celebrated that Christ IS Risen. That in Christ, we are born anew! These are not stories of long ago, this is a lived reality. If we are followers of the Word become Flesh, the Risen Christ, our lives have been changed and we necessarily reflect that reality in what we say and do. It changes everything!

God is God of the living – and ultimately all we are and all we have are from God. When we try to pin things down, and create categories and limits, we miss the point. Life itself is a gift. We have already received “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.” So we are called to begin, here and now, living changed lives.

So, how do we use our talents – yes, our money - as well as other gifts we have been equipped with? How do we use our time? Our unique abilities? Our reason? Our creativity? How do we find the sweet spot where our gifts and graces connect best with others’ gifts and graces. In the coming weeks, we will be looking at our spiritual gifts and how they work together in the body of Christ in a series called “Equipped for Every Good Work.” We are an Easter people! We are unique, unrepeatable, and beautifully made. We are different – on purpose. At every stage of our lives and in cooperation with others, we are called to use our uniqueness and our connections with others for the glory of our creator and the good of our neighbors.

Upcoming Events:

Wednesday, April 26, 5:30 pm Feeding Families in His Name– this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. Note: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you.

Walk the Labyrinth! – our prayer labyrinth, a joint project with 1st Presbyterian, is located at 3rd and Crawford, and the stonework along the paths has just been completed. Exploring the labyrinth is a great way to enjoy beautiful spring days. A walking labyrinth is a single path to the center, there are no wrong turns or dead ends. Nearly every human culture has had something similar – our path is based on the design of a labyrinth laid out in the stone floor of Chartres Cathedral in France as it was built around the year 1200AD. The labyrinth is open to all and you can use it to pray, discern, or just enjoy a stroll. Watch for a formal dedication event coming soon!



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